Recently we organised the Behavior Design meetup. Dan Lockton (UK) presented about Design Intent. He talked about how people give a device, interface or product a meaning. Even if they don’t fully understand what’s going on.
Giving meaning to something helps creating context and gives some sort of control. Not being in control, even if this is by great design, can result in a bad product experience as well. If you don’t trust the input, how can you trust the output.
I really like the view Dan has on design. Instead of seeing design as a something formative that tries to steer behaviour he has a much more adaptive approach where design has to change, add and adapt to existing behaviour.
Last thursday we organized the 4th Behavior Design meetup. A gathering in Amsterdam where we connect designers, scientists and entrepreneurs to share ideas and lessons about behavior design.
Who’s in control?
We touched the discussion about the implications of designing behavior without people noticing it several times. Overal people are confused about this topic.
Nir Eyal – one of the speakers – said behavior design will have a wear out effect. The same effect you notice when you look at old commercials. “Did people really believe this?”.
Attention as a business goal
In the digital landscape the design of a digital service that forces itself into your lifestyle can be an important business goal. Digital services are often focussed on attention and engagement.
Behavior design helps these services to succeed their goals. The addictive design elements in Facebook are an important part of it’s success (“you’re tagged in a photo, want to know what’s on the picture, come and visit”).
Is this right or wrong? It’s an interesting question because you usually don’t notice behavior design. The idea is to influence your behavior without you noticing. The result is that it changes something real. It changes the choices you make or it changes how you spend your time.
A designer has always given meaning to a product or service by it’s design. Even if it’s not intentionally. Design is about making choices and choices are as much about what you do as what you don’t.
In the end behavior design is just like any other design tool. You can use it for good or bad. Designers can have a role in pointing out where it’s being used and what for. Since if you design this stuff, you’re likely better in noticing it.
The other thing that came up in the discussion is that effect or addiction in digital products is measurable. Facebook knows what group of people is unhealthy addicted to their service. You can design behavior for this group as well.
This month we’re organizing the 4th Behavior Design Meetup Amsterdam. A mix of technologists, designers and researchers talking about influencing behavior by design. And we have only 7 5 spots left.
For this meetup we have a diverse range of speakers. Bay Area investor, author and consultant Nir will talk about how to build habit-forming products. Game designer Kars wil talk about how playful interactions can trigger intrinsic behavior and intelligent perception systems professor Dariu will talk about how technology sees and acts for us.
Nir Eyal writes, consults, and teaches about the intersection of psychology, technology, and business. He is the author of Hooked: How to Build Habit-Forming Products. Nir founded two tech companies since 2003 and has taught at the Stanford Graduate School of Business and the Hasso Plattner Institute of Design at Stanford.
Nir is also an advisor to several Bay Area start-ups , venture capitalists, and incubators. Nir’s last company received venture funding from Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers and was acquired in 2011. In addition to blogging at NirAndFar.com, Nir is a contributing writer for Forbes, TechCrunch, and Psychology Today.
Nir will be in Amsterdam for a few more days. He will be at the Hooked workshop and Habbit Summit.
Kars Alfrink (MA, Utrecht School of the Arts) is a designer active in the area of games, play, technology and society. Currently, he is principal designer at Hubbub, a Dutch/German design studio focussed on inventing games and forms of play that open up possibilities in existing contexts and create new ways for people to have fun and do things together.
Kars initiated and co-curated the Dutch offshoot of This happened, a series of events about the stories behind interaction design. He has worked as an educator and researcher at the Utrecht School of the Arts, and before that as an interaction designer at a couple of web agencies.
Dariu M. Gavrila received the PhD degree in computer science from the University of Maryland at College Park, USA, in 1996. Since 1997, he has been with Daimler R&D in Ulm, Germany, where he is currently a Senior Research Scientist. In 2003, he was further appointed professor at the University of Amsterdam, chairing the area of Intelligent Perception Systems (part time).
Over the past 15 years, Prof. Gavrila has focused on visual systems for detecting humans and their activity, with application to intelligent vehicles, smart surveillance and social robotics. He led the multi-year pedestrian detection research effort at Daimler, which materialized in the Mercedes-Benz E-Class and S-Class models (2013).
He is frequently cited in the scientific literature and he received the I/O 2007 Award from the Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research (NWO) as well as several conference paper awards.